Tributes have been paid to Lady Mairi Bury of Mount Stewart who passed away last week.
The 88-year-old, who was the daughter of the 7th Marquess of Londonderry, died at Mount Stewart on Monday, November 18, and was buried this week in a private service.
A memorial service is planned by the family but a date has not yet been confirmed.
Mayor of Ards Councillor William Montgomery said he was “saddened” by the news.
“Lady Mairi was an iconic figure in the Ards,” he said.
“She will be greatly missed, but her legacy will live long — it was she, following in her mother's footsteps, who gifted her family home, Mount Stewart house and much of its contents to the National Trust, ensuring that thousands upon thousands of visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the gardens.”
Alderman Jim Shannon, who was a good friend to Lady Mairi, described her as “a lady of some standing”.
“Lady Bury has left a great legacy, a wonderful personality, a love for the people of Ards, a patron to many charities, a lively character and a dear friend, her passing signals the end of an era,” he said.
The Londonderrys were a highly influential aristocratic family in the early 20th century.
The National Trust took over the gardens at Mount Stewart in 1957, and in 1977 Lady Mairi entrusted them with the house and most of its contents.
She continued to live there up until her death.